My family spent the summer without a formal vacation, making the most of day trips, especially to local places that we’ve never been.
Quassy seemed small by comparison.
But when inquiring about Quassy for an article, they offered my family a free visit, so we loaded up and headed out.
I was pleasantly surprised. While Quassy will never win awards for the largest amusement park or the one with the biggest roller coaster, it offered something that the more fast-paced parks don’t, which is smaller crowds, easier access to the rides, a pleasant and less crowded beach and a real sense of history.
Originally opened as a picnic, swimming and boating park in 1908, Quassy sits on twenty acres next to Lake Quassapaug. It was the most popular stop on the Connecticut Trolley Line, which went out of business in 1930. For the last seventy-two years, it’s been owned by the same family and they’ve preserved much of the feel from years past.
I felt it most strongly when I walked into the arcade building with it’s wooden floor. It smelled like an arcade, one that might have been sitting along the Jersey shore or at one of the New Hampshire beaches that my mother took us to one summer.
The new carousel, installed in 1999 to replace one from 1927, seems to be much older, with the resin horses closely resembling more historically accurate wooden animals. Curiously, the only thing missing is calliope music.
Quassy also contains one of the very few steel roller coasters left in the world, the Mad Mouse ride that was built by the Allan Herschell Company of North Tanawanda, New York. This ride was installed in 1952, along with several rides dedicated to the kiddie land section of the park.
My ten-year-old twins were less impressed with the history and more impressed with the beach. They swam for a couple of hours, with a trip over to the Saturation Station, the newest portion of the park. The twins said they preferred this to the water area at Lake Compounce because it was quieter and more relaxing. Bonus for cost-conscious parents: you can bring your own picnic with you to the beach, including lawn chairs.
My two teenagers were a bit less impressed but then they didn’t want to go to the beach. They liked the rides, particularly the Mad Mouse. And they especially appreciated the lack of lines to get on the bumper cars, a ride that has had a prohibitively long wait at all the other amusement parks that we’ve visited.
Unlike the other local parks, you don’t have to pay to get into Quassy. Single ride tickets can be purchased instead of paying a flat price. However, it is probably more cost-effective to buy a daily wristband which cost $21 for adults and $17 for kids and includes the swimming area.
With the abundance of kiddie rides, the beach, and beautiful setting by the lake, I’d recommend Quassy as a day trip for those with younger kids. And even for older adults wanting a stroll back into history.
[Editor’s Note: I can also highly recommend Quassy Park. I’ve visited it a couple times on trips to see my grandparents when they lived nearby, and we’va taken my boys there as well. The classic arcade is a slice of heaven.]